My sister got a visit tonight! After hearing one of Bella’s favourite songs in her car on the way to work and a few conversations about Bella today, she walked in the door and heard voices. No one was home. She realized the sounds were coming from the basement so she reluctantly went to see what was going on. Numerous battery operated toys were turned on, lights and sounds coming from various bins in the corner of the basement. The one that stood out the most was a Handy Many toy that played a part of the theme song over and over like a broken record. When she picked up the toy, she saw it was on “try me” mode (the demo shouldn’t be playing continuously like that!) She called me to tell me what happened and how strange her day was. I reassured her that coincidences don’t exist and Bella was saying “Hello!” 👼🏼💕
Today is #BellLetsTalk Day. I’m joining Bell Let’s Talk and millions of others to raise awareness about mental health. The purpose is to discuss the growing need for support and to help identify the needs of many but in order to do so, people need to admit to it before they can receive the help they need.
In the past I have struggled with #depression, #anxiety, and #anorexia that almost took my life. Over a decade later I experienced the trauma of #childloss and have been coping through #grief after the sudden loss of my daughter. I have always been very open about my struggles and have never felt embarrassed by them. I am fortunate to be surrounded by loving supportive people who have always been there for me. I am living proof that #RecoveryIsPossible!
Having a mental illness does not make you weak and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just because the illness is not seen, it does not mean it is not real, it is just as real as any other illness that can be seen with the eye.
Let’s #StopTheStigma… Share your story of #mentalillness if you have one. Don’t be scared or ashamed. It may help someone. If everyone shared their personal stories today, I think we would be overwhelmed by the amount of people who struggle without anyone ever knowing it. Let’s empower each other ❤️
As I sit here looking at a newborn photo of Bella as an angel, I ask myself “if I could go back to that day and do it all over, would I?” The obvious answer would be “of course!” But that decision would not be an easy one as many thoughts come to the surface.
The day this photo was taken was day 1 of colic. For the first 3.5 months of Bella’s life, she cried! She would breastfeed, sleep in my arms, and scream the rest of the day. Every day was the same. We would wake up, her in my arms, and she would be calm for a half hour or so, then the crying would begin.
I was heavily criticized for allowing her to soothe herself on me all day. No one seemed to understand how difficult it was to cope. I admit it was easier to hold her, but it was also what she wanted. I now have no regrets.
I have always said that colic could be used as a form of torture. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone. I paced all day and bounced on a yoga ball, skipped meals and ate when I could, showered when I had someone to help, and slept when Bella did since she only slept in my arms.
Once the screaming subsided, it was replaced with a cranky child who either wanted to be held or wanted to explore. And by “explore” I mean got into everything she could. I couldn’t take my eyes off her for a moment because I feared for her safety. My home felt like a circus.
The sleep difficulties continued. She slept in my arms her entire life. I was exhausted and underweight, battling depression and severe anxiety. My kids always came first, but that depleted me to the point where there was nothing left of me.
Yet as challenging as it was to simply survive, we found moments to celebrate every single day. We loved! We laughed. And we LIVED!
These were the hardest days of my life. But if I could go back, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Bella taught me how to be selfless; her needs always came first. She taught me patience. She taught me the importance of self care. Most importantly, she taught me about gratitude. I learned to appreciate the happy moments because they were rare. But those moments are the most precious memories I have and I will hold on to them for all of eternity.
I would relive those difficult days all over again for even just one more moment with Bella. But since that’s not possible, I am grateful that I can go back to those moments in my mind and relive those memories over and over again. These memories bring me pain, but behind every tear is a sparkle of joy.
This life is not the one I imagined, but it’s my reality. No one ever expects to live without their child. But Bella changed me, and I am so thankful for that.
One of the most difficult lessons I have learned is that sometimes our most cherished memories are created during the most difficult times in life. No matter how bad things seem or what you are forced to deal with, don’t ever let the moments of grace pass you by. You won’t get these moments back so enjoy them and cherish them for the rest of your life.
Thoughts I shared long before Bella’s transition continue to help me through the inevitable difficult moments. These reminders are precious. They came from me long before I knew grief, but it feels like I was preparing for what was to come. The challenges I faced during Bella’s short life changed me. Children have that affect on us; they change us! Please take a moment today to create a happy memory with your children, capture that moment in a photograph and share it here. Let’s fill this space with happy memories with our children.
#PracticeGratitude #CreateHappiness #CreateMemories #HappyMemories #CaptureMoments #StayStrong❤️
30 weeks pregnant and slowing down. Exhaustion is setting in once more. I fight it as strength radiates from within. I am surrounded by love and this pure light energy holds me in a safe place. The third trimester always seems to be the longest. But it is also the most exciting. As baby grows bigger and stronger, feeling her move inside me creates a bond that is everlasting. I now know that nothing can sever this bond. Not even death.
As she dances in my belly, I feel her soft flutters of love. I always say “Hi baby! I love you” and know that even though she can’t understand my words, she feels my love. For this moment in time, we are one. She is forever a part of me.
The anxiety I felt during the first months of pregnancy are now gone. Small specs of black sand, I picked up these fears, held them in my palm and blew them away. They remain somewhere but are too scattered to make sense of. I prefer it this way.
This baby is a blessing to her daddy and I. She is what created her; pure love. I feel her heightened vibration and my belly tingles every time she moves. She knows her daddy and responds to his touch and voice. I know she can’t wait to meet him.
I savour the blessings and hold them gratefully. I worked hard to put my fears aside. It’s easy to stay in that scary place but I chose to leave as the light was much brighter. I have full trust that everything is exactly how it is meant to be. I believe in miracles and know that we created one. I also know that I can’t even begin to imagine the beautiful life ahead of us.
Life is what you make of it. So here we are making the most of all we have.
Attacks of grief tend to come unexpectedly. I’ve been at the hospital a lot lately. For work. For family. For Baby Carl. It’s never a pleasant place to be, but sometimes the Universe has a plan and you are meant to be at a specific place at a specific time. I don’t believe in coincidence.
The second last time I was at the hospital, I had a deep conversation with a doctor who cared for me just after I nearly died. I had seen her at the ER the night before when I brought my son in with an allergic reaction. I thanked her for helping him the night before. She said to me “I don’t often get thanked for why I do.” This surprised me! If someone helps me or someone I care about, it only makes sense to thank them! I then thanked her for what she did for me and told her about Bella.
The other day I stopped by the hospital to inquire about my Rhogam injection. I spoke with a nurse that I recognized. She is very gentle, calm, and gives off a loving vibe. I recognized her as the nurse who has been incredible with my kids! I didn’t know her name until tonight. But once I heard her name, I knew exactly who she was.
It’s strange how I remember many details of what occurred, but struggle to remember what I saw. She was there the night I was brought in by ambulance. I asked her if she was my nurse that day and she told me she was also there for Bella. She took care of her. She told me a few things that touched my heart, things no mother should ever have to think about, but eased fears I didn’t even know existed. She took care of my baby girl after her momma had to leave. I cried. I hugged her. Then I thanked her. I will never forget the kindness this woman has shown my family.
These women were not the only ones who deserve thanks. The paramedics, hospital staff, police officers, and many others who were there for my family all deserve thanks. Some people view what they do as “their job” but there is more to it than that. It takes a special person to do what these people do. What they see at work can affect them. Deeply. Permanently. It’s not easy for anyone to deal with the sudden death of a child. It’s traumatic for anyone. Yet, thankfully, these people are there during those times.
I had intentions to meet all the people who were there for us that day. I am not quite ready to experience all the emotions that will come along with meeting them. When I am ready, I hope to thank them all in person.
But for now, I will thank them here.
Thank you for doing all you could to save my baby girl. Thank you taking care for her when I was not able to be at her side. Thank you for treating her with love and respect. I know she was in good hands.
Thank for helping me, for saving my life. Thank you for understanding my trauma and not judging me. Thank you for treating me with kindness and respect.
Thank you for caring.
I am sorry that we had to share our trauma with you, but thank you for being there when we needed you. Our lives would be much different today without you.
With a new year comes new hopes, new dreams, new wishes. It is a fresh beginning. A blank slate. You crack open the cover to a new volume in the Story of Your Life. Each month is a chapter in this exciting story, and may each day bring beautiful memories to fill the pages. Cherish those moments as you will never get them back, but may you forever hold them in your heart. Happy New Year! May you write the best story of your life! XO